SPEAKING OUT: Selena Gomez is among the most vocal celebrities when it comes to lupus. Last year she had to have a kidney transplant after suffering lupus-related complications. Picture: EPA
While science still attempts to unpack all the mysteries about lupus, a leading nutritional expert, Vanessa Ascencao, is of the opinion that pursuing a healthy lifestyle - including adopting good diet and taking supplements that counter inflammation - can go a long way in keeping the disease in remission.

“There is no cure for lupus. A lot of doctors and researchers have different theories around what causes it, but it has to be managed through lifestyle,” said Ascencao.

According to the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology, in the US lupus is one of the leading chronic inflammatory disease among young women aged 15 to 24, ranking higher than diabetes, HIV and liver disease.

Ascencao said with American research showing that people with lupus were at a higher risk of dying prematurely from conditions like diabetes, pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, it was important that lupus was managed holistically to minimise inflammation.

“Because lupus is so damaging to the organs, you’re more predisposed to dying of a chronic illnesses,” she said.

Ascencao suggested these tips:

Avoid fried, oily and processed foods.

Eat less red meat and dairy produce.

Choose fresh, organic and unprocessed foods and eat more vegetables, especially dark leafy greens.

Increase intake of fresh fruit, including berries and pomegranates, which are high in antioxidants.

Try probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut, and use bones to make soups.

Avoid too much sugar. Sugar over-stimulates your immune system, and in a case of autoimmune disease, you don’t want to overstimulate your immune system because it will continue attacking itself.

Choose quality iron and vitamin B and D supplements to boost your immunity, energy and concentration.

Exercise to help reduce stress and improve joint health, and sleep at least eight hours a night.

“Emotional stress is a contributor to autoimmune disease, so it’s really important to find an exercise that helps you as an individual to have stress relief. The benefits of exercise are enormous in helping your whole body, but people with lupus shouldn’t overexert themselves either.

“So things like yoga or walking are good to get circulation going and relieve stress,” Ascencao said.

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